I place myself in the hands of Dr. Jeff


I had a fitness assessment last Friday whereupon I learned that with less hair, I am now less flexible.

Or as my doctor says about the cause of various maladies: “Too many birthdays.”

With hopes that my 58-year-old bod can still deliver on my dreams (delusions?) that I can have my best golf season ever, I have engaged with Dr. Jeff Smeaton of Dynamic Health and Performance in Oakville, Ontario. He’s a chiropractor and certified Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) trainer who also trains elite juniors at the ClubLink Academy at Glen Abbey. (I work out of the academy as its performance coach.)

Dr. Jeff is going to work with (on?) me and I’m going to write about the process, doing the blogging and social media thing. I’ll keep you posted on my progress because I know you are aching to know, either as a fellow geezer or so you can learn what you’re in for.

I’ve been fairly fit most of my adult life as a golfer, runner, basement workout guy and a fairly committed gym member now that I live five minutes from StayFit in Guelph.

But last season that I could no longer carry my golf bag because it caused referred pain down my left leg, and my thighs almost cramped going up some billy goat hills at Blue Springs GC. I was starting to experience intermittent pain in my hips off the course. (At the risk of TMI, running also hurt my butt.*)

So I’ve engaged with Dr. Jeff to see what I can do. Interestingly, he also said the assessment would provide some insight into my key swing faults. (He asked me not to tell him in advance of the assessment what I struggle with.)

He put me through a battery of tests Friday in which I creaked and grunted. Afterwards, he said that I have to do exercises that won’t be much fun—to start at least. Although I already work out, he said I’ve been avoiding the things that I need to do in favour of things that I already do well.

Turns out that I struggle with the pelvic tilt (I don’t know how), and that I have limited rotation in my hips and thoracic spine, which makes it difficult to load into my right side and shortens my backswing.

He said this makes me prone to “popping out” of my posture. Bingo! I move up and sometimes toward the ball on the downswing, causing me to hit blocks and the occasional shank-a-saurus. I instantly understood the wisdom of working with a trainer who knows the golf swing.

“Many golfers cannot make a fundamentally correct motion in their swing, not because they don’t know how, but because their bodies won’t let them,” he said. “When you take care of that weakness or limitation, you also improve your golf motion.”

Now I await Dr. Jeff’s plan and hope that I’ll have the resolve to do what he recommends.

Getting rid of the shanks is a hell of an incentive.

*I’ve made great progress on my hip pain in working with physiotherapist Brenda Scott-Thomas of the Speed River Physiotherapy in Guelph.


About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!